Giannis scores 21, Matthews 3 sends Bucks past 76ers 90-88

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Wesley Matthews hit a 3-pointer with 23.8 seconds left and Giannis Antetokounmpo had 21 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 90-88 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night.

Brook Lopez scored 17 points as the Bucks, who were 0-5 in the preseason, won their season opener after Matthews surprised the Sixers with a long 3. James Harden, who scored 31 and rallied the Sixers in the fourth, missed a jumper that could have won the game.

The 76ers lost their opener Tuesday night in Boston and had another poor defensive effort that saw the Philly crowd boo them off the court in the third quarter.

Joel Embiid had 15 points and 12 rebounds. Tyrese Maxey added 15 points for the Sixers.

Embiid, who had offseason surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb, had four more turnovers. He had six against the Celtics.

“It affects you for a long time, especially if he gets hit,” coach Doc Rivers said. “These are still raw moves. As a big, I imagine he will get hit every game. You’re not hurt, it’s just painful.”

Harden finally got the Sixers going in the fourth when he scored eight straight points to cut a 12-point deficit to single digits. Trying to bolster the defensive lineup with toughness, Rivers turned to Harden, Tobias Harris, PJ Tucker, De’Anthony Melton and Daniel House Jr.

The 76ers forced a turnover on the clock and forced the Bucks out of bounds. Tucker stole the ball and hit Harden for a layup that made it 80-all with 6:41 left. Harden, whose nagging hamstring injuries from last season appear to be behind him, knelt before a roaring crowd of approval.

His coffee ended a 13-0 run, and it all ended with Embiid on the bench.

Antetokounmpo broke the tie when he drove for Milwaukee’s first basket in more than four minutes.


Bucks: Coach Mike Budenholzer used a walking stick before the game and walked in a boot during the game after surgery on his right ankle. … Rivers said Bucks guard Jrue Holiday reminded him of former 76ers point guard Mo Cheeks, whose No. 10 was retired by the team. Holiday, who started his career with the Sixers, missed 13 of 15 shots. “I don’t think he gets enough recognition,” Rivers said. “I don’t know another quarterback who is a better defensive player than him. I wouldn’t want to see him every night.”

76ers: Fanatics founder Michael Rubin sold his stake in the company that owns the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils to David Adelman. Adelman is the third largest shareholder behind owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer.


Bucks: Play their opener Saturday against Houston.

76ers: Trust the process! Longtime coach Brett Brown, who led the Sixers’ rebuilding process that brought them Embiid, returns Saturday as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs.


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